You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

2

1

▼  4th Inning 2 outs

FDA approves more powerful, pure hydrocodone drug

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a stronger, single-ingredient version hydrocodone, the widely abused prescription painkiller.

The agency said Friday it approved the extended-release pill Zohydro ER for patients with pain that requires ‘‘daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment’’ that cannot be treated with other drugs.

Continue reading below

Hydrocodone is currently sold in combination pills like Vicodin to treat pain from injuries, surgery, arthritis, and migraines. The new drug from Zogenix is the first pure hydrocodone drug approved in the United States.

The approval came as a surprise since the agency’s own panel of outside advisers gave the drug an overwhelmingly negative review last year. The panel of pain specialists voted 11 to 2, with one abstention, against approving the drug, questioning the need for a new form of one of most widely abused prescription drugs in the United States.

Zohydro’s approval was quickly criticized by patient safety advocates who had urged the FDA to reject the drug at the public panel last December.

‘‘We’re just going to kill more kids and then the FDA is going to come back and say, ‘oh, we made a mistake,’ ’’ said Avi Israel of Buffalo, N.Y. Israel’s son Michael committed suicide in 2011 while struggling with painkiller addiction. Israel is the founder of a group that aims to combat painkiller abuse in young people.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.